Behind the Scenes of Our New Product Launch: Designer Interview

We're thrilled to officially introduce Bahn Rail, Bahn Recycle Center, Pin Mobile Screens and Tonic Simple Media – four all-new additions to the Watson product family, designed to enhance the way real people work in offices.

These products speak for themselves – adding functionality and thoughtful details you didn’t even know were missing from your workplace.

But if you didn’t know what you were missing … who did?

That’s Chris Kuchman, Design Engineer at Watson.

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We picked his brain to get some behind-the-scenes insight into how Bahn Rail, Bahn Recycle Center, Pin Mobile Screens and Tonic Simple Media came into existence:

Q: How did Bahn Rail come to life?

A: Bahn Rail came from the desire to create a system that supported a wide variety of planning modes. Planning modes that could be configured easily and did not require unique storage items. We were also looking at giving an option closer to a panel system, without giving up the perks that we had created from the Bahn Raceway design.

Check out some of the earliest sketches of what would become Bahn Rail: 

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Q: What were you trying to solve for?

A: Originally when the Bahn Raceway was designed, we focused heavily on space and ease of managing cables. The goal was to make real workspaces look as clean as what we see at showrooms. This called for a larger footprint of the raceway, which required the Bahn Raceway to have its own storage.

The Bahn Raceway is still great for high cable requirements as it provides space to manage cables and the easy access for users and faculty, but we found it to fall short in configurability. The Bahn Rail was designed to fulfill that role; giving a slimmer profile, simplified cable management options and a variety of configurations with more types of storage.

The goal of the Bahn Rail, then, was to provide a PVD (power, voice and data) with a small footprint that would allow for more traditional open office planning and open up our extensive Zo storage line. While the Bahn Raceway remains ideal for heavy cable management, Bahn Rail brings scalable cable capacity.

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Q: What were some of the conversations like in the discovery process?

A: The discovery process for the Bahn Rail was first defining what users wanted and the ways we could give it to them. It was then a constant effort of simplification, simplification, and simplification to refine those solutions to something that would be easy to use day-to-day in the office, easy to install, and easy for our factory floor. Most of our largest successes in the design came from this constant desire to simplify.

Q: How is Bahn Rail different from its competition?

A: Most rail systems were a developed from a panel-system mindset, which typically have complex options and a focus on defining the work spaces walls. The rail emerged from the other direction, the open office shared workspace with a high focus on clean wire management. This has resulted in the rail having a greater focus on the user experience and a simplified specification process.

Q: What inspired the design of Pin Mobile?

A: The Pin mobile was created to maximize user functionality and mobility. Many freestanding wall dividers are too heavy or too awkward to be user-adjustable. The pin mobile screen was designed with mobility as a key characteristic. Some of the screen form was designed to subtly echo our popular Etch markerboard to enhance the Watson offering in mobile office products.

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Q: How do you think Bahn Recycle Center will benefit users in the workplace?

A: The Bahn recycle center encourages chance coworker interactions that can breed innovation. By centralizing trash and recycling, it encourages coworkers to interact and be more mobile throughout the day. With the optional back panel treatments, coworkers can also make their space feel more personal, possibly adding a touch of nature.

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People like Chris are thinking about people like you – the people who will use our products every step of the way. From ideation to launch, from our Pacific Northwest factory floor to your office, we’ve left no details overlooked.

Whether you want to huddle up or break away for a bit, Watson’s got you covered. How would you make Bahn Rail, Bahn Recycle Center, Pin Mobile Screens and Tonic Simple Media your own?

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